PM Lee recently addressed the nation during the National Day Rally 2021, touching on topics that are essential for nation-building. Here are some of the things he spoke about during his speech:
Source: The Straits Times
One of the biggest outcomes from the NDR that PM Lee announced during his speech is that Muslim nurses in the public healthcare sector will be allowed to wear tudung with their uniforms from November 2021, a policy that will apply to 7,000 staff. Other big wins included the Government supporting more recommendations from the Tripartite on how to uplift and better support our lower-wage workers (rank-and-file workers such as cleaners and security guards).
Despite these big wins, however, many folks online still choose to look at the “negatives” of the speech (we thought the entire NDR was pretty positive) and to whom do we owe this to?
Media outlets and their creative ways of practicing irresponsible journalism
Immediately after the speech, media outlets were quick to push out articles, which is normal and seemingly commendable. But what was disturbing was the way the headline of the articles were crafted.
The concoction of the woke mob + misleading articles = recipe for disaster. The woke mob jumped at the opportunity to use these negative articles to their advantage – using these articles to push their toxic narratives and agendas. We have compiled some examples after observing the sequence of events that happened over the past few days, post the National Day Rally.
Chinese privilege: What was reported vs what was said
What was reported
In PM Lee’s speech in Mandarin addressing the Chinese community, in line with the main pillar of race & religion, he touched on the issue of “Chinese privilege”. Many news outlets were quick to ride on the trend of the topic, with big Singaporean media outlets like CNA and mothership opting to go for the following headlines:
Then let’s not forget our favourite cyber-bully Wake Up Singapore with dumb and lame memes like this to spark public outrage
Source: Wake Up Singapore Instagram
For most of us who don’t bother to read beyond the headlines, it’s easy to assume that PM Lee dismissed the concerns of the minorities, especially since there has been so much drama over the past few months on this issue.
What was actually said
We scanned the actual speech in Mandarin, and the actual words PM Lee used in his speech was “te quan” which means special powers or rights when put into context of the speech.
We also found a post on Reddit (where it seems like the smarter part of the world resides) – and “te quan” is akin to the special rights Malays enjoy in Malaysia (think the Bumiputera policy); NOT Chinese Privilege.
Chinese Privilege is termed as the majority’s inability to understand the lived experience of a minority in Singapore. This leads to a systemic disadvantage that’s built into society, not the system of governance.
Therefore, PM Lee did not say that Chinese Privilege does not exist – but rather said that there’s no such thing as the majority enjoying special rights due to policies or specific laws.
In fact, PM Lee’s speech also highlighted that the majority Chinese population might not understand the pain or struggles that minorities faced, and urged them to be more empathetic. He even pointed out two main areas of grievances highlighted in the past months over the multiple disputes we’ve seen online. Here are some translated excerpts from his Mandarin speech;
“The first example: Some ethnic minorities have had unhappy experiences when renting a home. All homeowners wish to find the ideal tenant. Some Chinese homeowners tell their property agents upfront that they prefer not to have tenants of a particular race. Thus, when non-Chinese prospective tenants show up, the property agent tells them: “Sorry, you can’t rent the place as the owner doesn’t want tenants of a particular race.” Not all homeowners are like that but it’s not difficult for us to imagine how hurt these minority tenants feel when they have such encounters.”
“The second example: Ethnic minorities sometimes face more difficulties than Chinese looking for jobs. The reason is that some Chinese employers prefer to hire Chinese employees. Some jobs require proficiency in the Chinese language, and this is understandable and acceptable but it is not a must for some other jobs. If employers still state Mandarin as a requirement, the minorities will find this unreasonable and unfair.”
The implications of click-bait headlines and inaccurate reporting
Let’s not forget how our Malay-Muslim friends are being ruthlessly butchered in the news. Here are some examples of how PM Lee’s speech in Malay was misreported yet again:
Why focus on so many negative headlines, especially when it comes to the Malay community? It seems like the only positive out of the headlines we’ve seen on the news related to the Malay community from the National Day Rally speech is only the Tudung issue.
Such headlines are dangerous because;
- Insinuates that the Malay-Muslim community are constantly being picked out by our Government
- Sheds a negative light on the Malay-Muslim community and perpetuates stereotypes for those who are less aware
Why not bring the bulk of the focus to how the Malay-Muslim community has made considerable progress, and how the majority of them are also PMETs? The bulk of PM Lee’s speech highlighted various Malay-Muslim profiles of successful folks. Here’s the translated excerpt of the speech, from Malay;
“I am glad to see the Malay/Muslim community rallying together, caring for one another, throughout the pandemic. This gotong royong and “can do” spirit have been key to the community’s progress over the years.
The latest Census 2020 shows the significant progress that the community has made over the past decade. More Malays, across all age-groups, are attaining higher qualifications. The proportion of Malay university graduates has doubled. The proportion of Malays working as PMETs has also increased. As a result, Malay household incomes have gone up too. Well done!”
Why not highlight these instead? In his speech, PM Lee also touched on a few concerns on trends that the Census 2020 revealed about the Malay-Muslim community. If you haven’t watched NDRs in the past, this is common practice not just for the Malay speeches, but also for the speeches made to the Chinese community. We’ve highlighted this above on how PM Lee urged the Chinese community to be more sensitive to the needs of the minorities living in Singapore.
Dear mainstream media, for the sake of our country, please practice ethical journalism. This ain’t a marketing campaign. Stop click-baiting your readers with stupid headlines.
The National Day Rally speeches are all crafted carefully and with the target audience in mind. Obviously, the Malay speech would differ from the Chinese speech, as PM Lee will be addressing different folks in his speech. Let’s all practice mindfulness; fact checks and let’s not trust everything headline/article that you see in the news.